Archive for the ‘Jocjoc Bolante’ Category

Bolante in jail, the “zarzuela” continues

December 4, 2008

Now that former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn (Joc Joc) Bolante is indefinitely detained for lying in the senate investigation of P728 million fertilizer scandal, Malacanang expresses “sadness” that the suspected criminal might not spend Christmas at home. Palace officials seem more concerned for the slick guy deported from US rather than for the Filipinos adversely affected by the corruption charges.

Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo is hoping something “good” comes out of the investigation. Her statement is wimpy. It suggests that Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo’s administration isn’t strong in seeking truth and justice in this case. The reason(s) is obvious.

Bolante has been accused of misusing fertilizer money for Pres. Arroyo’s election. Described as “bubbly” in jail, he outwardly takes the charges lightly as the nation is wearied waiting. It’s the kind of behavior that Filipinos usually see among accused government officials who are confident in lying and dismissive of the people’s suffering.

The “bubbly” guy in jail is the same person who tried to seek asylum in the America in a bid to avoid prosecution. Upon arrival from deportation, he ostensibly boarded an ambulance straight to St. Luke’s Medical Center from the airport for a two-week medical check up. As expected, the stay in the hospital suite yielded nothing emergently life-threatening.

If only to uplift the sagging expectation on the course of justice, the senate’s blue ribbon chair Sen. Richard Gordon said,

Before we ordered the arrest of Mr. Bolante, the members of the Blue Ribbon committee held a caucus and we were all convinced that he had been giving us statements contradictory to the testimonies of resource persons and documents presented.”—Malaya (12/05/08, Lopez, JP)

Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Dagupan was more direct in his opinion about Bolante’s lies. Urging the senators to file perjury cases against Bolante, Archbishop Cruz asserted that ““no big intelligence is needed to know that Bolante is not telling the whole truth about the fertilizer fund scam – not only for his own sake but also to cover up for his Malacañang patron,” he said. —Manila Bulletin (12/05/08, Torregoza, H)

Archbishop Cruz’ opinion is shared by many Filipinos who doubt whether this investigation will end in the full disclosure of the crime and the punishment of the guilty. Exposed to endemic and escalating corruption, the public feebly watch the “zarzuela” as it proceeds in its lazy way. (Photo Credit: AP/Roque,Pat; villi.ingi) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: Bolante’s medical drama continues, but doctors say “telling the truth is therapeutic.” Posted by mesiamd at 11/08/2008;Accused of Plunder, Jocjoc Bolante, Returns from US a Deportee Posted by andygimpaya at 10/29/2008; “Hospital: a vacation house or a sanctuary for malingerers?”Posted by mesiamd at 10/29/2008.

Hospital: a vacation house or a sanctuary for malingerers?

October 29, 2008

The spectacular show of Jocelyn (JocJoc) Bolante continued at the airport when an ambulance rushed him to St. Lukes’s Medical Center on his arrival on October 28, 2008. The deportee who lost his appeal for asylum in the United States allegedly complained of “chest pains” and hospital authorities are mum about his medical condition

“…as the then undersecretary for finance of the Department of Agriculture, Bolante was the architect of embezzlement of more than P3 Billion (around $64M), including P728M fertilizer fund, that were intended for farmers’ benefits…reports suggest that the fraud-tainted money was used as campaign fund of Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo in the 2004 presidential election.” UP “Accused of Plunder, Jocjoc Bolante, Returns from US a Deportee’ (10/29/08, Gimpaya, A)

Accused of stealing money from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP,) Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia committed a crime similar to that Bolante is charged of. Both needed some hospital stay. Garcia had himself confined in UST for alleged serious medical problems at the height of his trial only to be found guilty of corruption and acts unbecoming of a soldier.

Convicted child-rapist Romeo Jalosjos had been reported to have sought medical confinement for conditions like cough and high blood pressure that could well be managed on an out-patient basis.

Pres. Erap Estrada used the Veterans Memorial Medical Center as a private detention house until he was brought to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal. Later he was put under “rest house arrest” in his cozy villa across the camp on the bases of questionable medical reasons. His supporters were delighted, but the public couldn’t hide their scorn.

Yolanda Ricaforte, the bag woman in the Estrada plunder case also used some medical excuses. She pompously appeared in public in a wheelchair with a personal nurse during an investigation. With eyes shielded by dark sunglasses, she blamed hypertension for her “fragile” health. Her nurse in a white uniform plus a stethoscope on her neck stood by her side as though she could do something in case an emergency arise. After that appearance, Ricaforte surreptitiously rode a plane, skipped Manila to hide as a fugitive in America.

Filipinos understand that medical problems are used as props, distractions, and excuses during an inquiry or litigation. Lawyers exploit health reasons for their clients with the cooperation of their doctors. Not negating the need to stay in the hospital if there is true medical indication, the public is usually distrustful whenever people like Bolante goes straight to stay in a hospital suite (not the emergency room?) after his arrival in the airport. (Photo Credits: shashamane; suetortoise) =0=

UPDATE: GMA News reported on October 30, 2008 that Joc Joc Bolante is confined at St. Luke’s Medical Center for medical tests that will take 5 days—rather slow for a VIP. There is no apparent medical justification to keep him in bed in the hospital which can be better used by sicker patients. Many MDs suspect, with Bolante’s “stable” status, such tests on him are better done on out-patient (ambulatory) service.

Accused of Plunder, Jocjoc Bolante, Returns from US a Deportee

October 28, 2008

Former Philippine Agriculture Undersecretary Jocjoc Bolante returns after getting released from a US prison and deported back to the Philippines. Bolante stands accused of plunder together with the Philippine president and first gentleman. In the heat of a Senate investigation in 2005, Bolante suddenly disappeared and became inaccessible to the investigators. A few months later he was arrested in the US because of expired travel visa. He has been detained at a Michigan prison until his deportation today. Even while in prison, Bolante continued to claim that he left the Philippines not to escape investigation to but to comply with previous commitments.

According to former Solicitor-General Frank Chavez one of the complainants who filed he case at the Ombudsman, documents show that as the then undersecretary for finance of the Department of Agriculture, Bolante was the architect of embezzlement of more than P3 Billion (around $64M), including P728M fertilizer fund, that were intended for farmers’ benefits. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has sat on the case for three years now.

Several reports suggest that the fraud-tainted money was used as campaign fund of Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo in the 2004 presidential election.

Technically, Bolante is now under the custody of the Senate Sgt.-at-arms who served a warrant of arrest when Bolante arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. On the side, protesters yelled at him. The protesters included Jun Lozada, the star witnesss in the senate investigation of the scandalous ZTE broadband deal that also implicated the first gentleman.

Bolante was brought to the St. Luke’s Medical Center when he complained of chest pain.

Fears of a new senate investigation of the fertilizer fund scam getting watered down persists. Gloria Arroyo’s allies in the senate are not so keen about it. Senate agriculture committee chairman, Sen. Edgardo Angara said that resumption of the senate investigation is no longer needed because a case has already been filed with the Ombudsman. Blue Ribbon Committee chairman, Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano is out of the country. The senate will not resume session until Nov 10. And Bolante’s initial announcement doesn’t sound like he intends to tell the full truth.